There is an initiative heading for the ballot that “Eliminates recently enacted road repair and transportation funding by repealing revenues dedicated for those purposes.”

Who could be for that?

Well, what if we told you that was the title of an initiative put forward by Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, to repeal the recently enacted gas tax increases?

That title and a similarly slanted summary were crafted by the state Attorney General’s Office, and have drawn the ire of the assemblyman and supporters hoping to repeal the higher gas and diesel taxes that the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated will total $2.9 billion next year.

“The initiative is clear. It repeals the gas tax, and nothing more,” Allen told the Editorial Board recently. He added that he is just trying to hold Gov. Jerry Brown to his word that taxes should not be increased without a vote of the people.

Now the assemblyman is suing the attorney general over the title, which he feels is purposely misleading, as well as purported inaccuracies in the summary, including a claim that the initiative “Eliminates Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is responsible for ensuring accountability in the use of revenue for transportation projects.” It’s an office that doesn’t actually exist yet, even if SB1 called for its creation.

Allen makes a strong case. It seems hard to believe that an initiative on an issue colloquially known as the “gas tax” fails to mention the tax in its title — which is as far as most voters read. And it’s dubious that the initiative can eliminate things that don’t yet exist.

Allen also points to a number of court cases that mandate that ballot initiatives be factually written in commonsense language.

“The process has been politicized in California,” Allen told us.

It was only a couple of years ago that former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio attempted to place a pension reform bill on the statewide ballot. It mandated that government “shall not enhance the pension benefits of any employee in a defined-benefit pension plan unless the voters of that jurisdiction approve.”

But the way then-Attorney General Kamala Harris described it, “shall not enhance” became “Eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree health care benefits for current public employees.” She then listed public employees popular with most voters, “including those working in K-12 schools, higher education, hospitals and police protection.”

The title and summary proved such a poison pill that Reed and DeMaio decided to pull their initiative, rather than present it to voters.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a simple solution: Hand this responsibility off to the LAO, which already does the fiscal analysis for ballot measures. That proposal was contained in Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 this year. It died in committee.

Allen doesn’t think that, given the current political climate, a sensible proposal like that could pass. Instead, he hopes to restore his suggested title and summary: “Repeals recent legislation that created new gas tax, diesel tax, vehicle registration fee and zero-emission vehicle fee.” Or, a hybrid like: “Eliminates recently enacted gas and diesel tax increases and vehicle registration fees intended for road repair and transportation funding.” Either one would be more fair to voters.